At first, AP took a hard-line stance, demanding that one particular blog should remove seven pieces of content which featured quotes from AP articles and stating that bloggers across the internet should curtail the use of AP content. However, when faced with a swift backlash from a cross section of well-known and heavily-read bloggers, the news service took a big step back. The New York Times reported that Jim Kennedy, vice president and strategy director of The A.P., stated in an interview that the agency was "heavy-handed" and that A.P. would "rethink its policies toward bloggers."
Fair use doctrine not withstanding, this move by Associated Press is just plain stupid. Yes, as a writer who has had his own work "ripped" I agree that content theft is wrong. However, for a news service to come out against being quoted by blogs smacks of playground protectionism, nothing more. This is especially true when responsible bloggers are careful to properly cite their sources and link back to their original source articles. Associated Press probably gets more value from these practices than it knows.
If The Associated Press wishes to police the internet for violations of its as-yet-undeclared official quotation policy, I think that's fine, and I hope it has the resources to properly do the job. However, I don't really believe AP is fully up to the task. It would take about 300 full-time content reviewers to sufficiently scour the blogs daily for quotation violations, and a well-heeled, fully-staffed legal stable would be needed to attempt to enforce sanctions via civil tort law.
I'll give Associated Press a hint about one trick which works well for tracing the abusive use of original content; By placing a seldom used word, which I call a "ripper tag word", within your articles, you can more easily search the Internet for misuse of your content. One such word would be the term supercilious, as used to denote an attitude of superiority and haughtiness. I think that term well applies to the whining of Associated Press in this case.
Gary Sattler is a freelance blogger. " You can quote me on that."